The North Country Collective @ Rickshaw Theatre – September 16th 2021

It had been 550 days since the Rickshaw Theatre closed its doors during the pandemic, but tonight was time to let loose. Even though it was a fully seated show and socially distanced, the décor for the evening felt very cozy with satin drapes covering the stage, chandeliers glistening on both sides and cowboy hats bobbing around the place.

The evening kicked off with young ‘The Unbranded’ who had travelled from Chilliwack to warm up the crowd with some West Coast Honky Tonk.

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As the stage was being set for the main acts, the air was filled with vintage country tunes on vinyl decks from DJ Pennytentiary which had the crowd wiggling in their seats.

The main MC for the night, Nick Lawton, explained how he and Elliot C Way, John Sparski and Bob Sumner had spent hours of zoom calls working tirelessly to keep the momentum going and create this new ‘North Country Collective‘. This tight knit community of musicians were celebrating the launch party by showcasing the local Vancouver talent and the artists associated with it. Each artist came on to perform a few tracks each with a main backing band for a ‘variety hour’.

The tall mustached Bob Sumner swaggered on first with acoustic in hand and re-iterated how much it meant to see all the supportive smiles and people out supporting their country music cause.

As the night progressed, the backing band swapped positions, brought out the pedal steel and organ as Johnny99 made a solo debut with his latest single ‘This Is It‘. He was then joined on stage by the charismatic Elliot C Way which lead to a more upbeat, rock and roll style of music as they dueled their guitars for high end solo shredding.

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Rounding off the night was the garage-rocking fused Rich Hope accompanied by his Blues Rich Rangers. The Blues infused Country sound was infectious and encouraged everyone to boogie in their seats as much as possible.

Photos © Lukas Holt

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